Natural Compound Shows Promise Against Huntington's Disease

Fisetin, a compound found in strawberries and other fruits and vegetables, slows the onset of motor problems and delays death from Huntington's disease, according to researchers. Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited disorder that slowly erodes victims' ability to walk, talk and reason.

One intracellular signaling system affected by Huntington’s is the Ras/ERK pathway, which is important in brain development, learning, memory and cognition. Fisetin exerts a neuroprotective and memory-enhancing effect through the activation of the Ras/ERK signaling pathway.

Eurekalert reports:

“[The researchers] began their study by looking at a nerve cell line ... Without treatment, about 50 percent of these cells will die within a few days. Adding fisetin, however, prevented cell death and appeared to achieve it by activating the Ras-ERK cascade.”

When mice with Huntington’s were fed fisetin, the onset of the motor defects was delayed, and their life span was extended by about 30 percent.

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